The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington estimates 224,089 fatalities from COVID-19 by Nov. 1, which is roughly 90,000 more than the current number of deaths in the U.S.
“We can now see the projected trajectory of the epidemic into the fall, and many states are expected to experience significant increases in cases and deaths in September and October,” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray last Tuesday.
Medical workers bring a patient to the Northbridge Health Care Center in Bridgeport, Conn on April 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
However, the IHME says that if 95 percent of Americans wore masks when leaving their homes, the number of projected fatalities would drop by more than 40,000.
“We all have come to recognize, wearing masks can substantially reduce transmission of the virus,” Murray added. “Mask mandates delay the need for re-imposing closures of businesses and have huge economic benefits. Moreover, those who refuse masks are putting their lives, their families, their friends, and their communities at risk.”
The new death total is up nearly 20,000 from its previous estimate on July 7, which they attributed to a widespread number of new infections and hospitalizations, likely leading to more fatalities from the virus.
The IHME is also noticing decreased mobility in some states, as infections increase, which could potentially limit the spread of the virus.
“The US didn’t experience a true end to the first wave of the pandemic,” Murray said. “This will not spare us from a second surge in the fall, which will hit particularly hard in states currently seeing high levels of infections.”
The new projection does not include New Hampshire due to modeling changes and it will be updated as soon as those problems are resolved, the IHME said.
As of Wednesday morning, all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have reported confirmed cases of COVID-19, tallying more than 3,431,574 illnesses and at least 136,466 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins.